Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom powers on in Q1; Sky invests in You.i.TV for cross-platform app development; back-of-the-net for BT Sport!
BT has held back from cutting its dividend to shareholders despite full-year results that saw revenue down 1% to £23.428 billion (US$30.430 billion). Profit before tax was up 2%, to £2.666 billion ($3.462 billion). In a statement, recently installed Chief Executive Philip Jansen said: "While we are really well positioned in a very challenging and competitive UK market, we have a lot of work to do to ensure we remain successful and deliver long term sustainable value to our shareholders." On the mobile front, through its EE brand, BT now says it plans to launch 5G "imminently," and claims it is on course to go live in 16 UK cities with the technology in 2019 with a range of device partners.
First-quarter revenue at Deutsche Telekom was up 3.5% year-on-year in organic terms, to €19.5 billion ($21.8 billion), while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rose by 3.9% to €5.9 billion ($6.6 billion). Though things are pretty healthy on its home turf, DT's US incarnation, T-Mobile US, continues to be the real engine for growth, adding 1.65 million new customers (net) between January and March 2019. One not-so-bright spot is its IT services arm, T-Systems, which saw revenue decline 2.1% to €1.6 billion as a result of a general fall in the volume of "traditional" IT business in western Europe.
Sky, the UK-based pay-TV giant that is now part of the Comcast stable, is investing an undisclosed amount in You.i.TV, a Canadian company that specializes in software tools that address cross-platform app development and ultimately seek to tackle the problem of device fragmentation in the content-consumption world. The investment forms part of a larger Series C funding round announced in November 2018.
Swisscom has acquired Swiss security specialist United Security Providers (USP) for an undisclosed sum. The deal will bolster the operator's cybersecurity expertise, creating a team of around 200 code jockeys. USP will continue to operate as a separate brand within the Swisscom empire.
The UK's Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, has told lawmakers that the rollout of 5G in Britain could be delayed by security concerns, Reuters reports. Said Wright: "There is certainly the possibility of a delay in the process of the roll out of 5G: If you want to do 5G fastest then you do that without any consideration for security." US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in London yesterday (Wednesday), invoking the ghost of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in an attempt to persuade the UK government that allowing Huawei to play a role in 5G rollout was akin to putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. (See Eurobites: Huaweigate Triggers Political Earthquake in UK.)
Ori, the London-based startup behind edge computing platform DNA, has secured $2 million in seed funding in a round led by Episode 1 Ventures. The DNA platform provides developers with access to computing resources over distributed networks on a consumption-based model.
Israel's ECI, purveyor of "elastic" network offerings to telcos and others, has teamed up Cherry & White, a UK-based company specializing in mission-critical networks, to provide utility firms, the transport sector and government with "best-in-class" networking technologies.
A new non-profit company, Pure Fibre Housing, has been launched with the intention of bringing high-speed connectivity to the tenants of properties developed by housing associations (a form of social housing in the UK) in Wales. The company, which is part of the i4 Technology Group founded by Welsh fiber entrepreneur Elfed Thomas, is already working on its first project, with Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG), one of the biggest housing associations in North Wales.
Digital Realty has opened the second data center on its Profile Park campus in Dublin. The five-megawatt expansion, says the company, provides customers on the campus with "additional runway for growth in the capacity-constrained Irish market."
It's been a good week for BT Sport, with the unexpected success of the two English clubs still involved in the Champions League soccer tournament -- to which BT Sport holds the exclusive UK rights -- raising the profile of the TV channel owned by the UK telco incumbent. On Tuesday night, Liverpool came back from a three-goal deficit to beat Barcelona 4-0 and qualify for the final, and the following night Spurs scored a last-minute winner to overcome Ajax and stake their place the final too. According to a BT spokesman, the "in-game" average audience for the Liverpool-Barcelona semi-final was 1.69 million, with a peak of 2.69 viewers, while the Spurs-Ajax game garnered 1.5 million average views and a 2.4 million peak. Additionally, BT Sport had the highest ever digital viewing figures (across web and app) for these two games. According to the Guardian, the English teams' success has led to a surge in subscriptions to BT Sport, as those wanting to watch the final on June 1 get their credit cards out. For those sports fans who have been living under a rock all week, here's what some of the fuss is about…
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading